For most of her life, Olivia Prior has only ever known life within the walls of the Merilance School for Girls. But she knows she is special; she can see the ghouls lurking in every corner of the school when no one else seems to be able to.
One day, a letter comes for her. Olivia can’t help but give in to her hopes that maybe she too will have a family that loves and cares for her even if it means stepping foot into Gallant, her family home, when her mother expressly warned against it.
V. E Schwab’s writing is as magical and mesmerizing as I remember it to be from The Near Witch. She possesses a talent for making even the most simple stories stunning with atmospheric narration and adventure.
Even though Gallant is written about a younger character, the author doesn’t shy away from tweaking the lines of horror to create a story that is inviting. You’ll find descriptions of ghosts missing body parts, the creepiness that follows lurking sensations, etc.
Two of the characters in the book are differently-abled, and it is wonderful that Schwab writes about them in the most natural manner without making it look like a token representation.
I really liked Olivia’s character from the beginning. She is introduced as an orphan and possesses a curiosity that keeps her from settling for less. Having had to fend for herself from childhood, she is protective of herself, has clarity in thought, and is altogether a very endearing character to read about.
Hannah and Edgar’s characters are also such warm additions to Olivia’s storyline. I loved that she had them.
While the underlying force propelling the story forward seems simple in its execution, V.E Schwab’s talent for writing is what makes the entire reading experience extraordinary.
I have a soft spot for stories that are written about ancient homes with a lot of family history. Here too, the way Gallant has been explored held my fancy throughout.
The novel is split into 6 parts that mark various points of transition in the story. There are also elements of journal entries and sketches that add to the allure of the storytelling.
All in all, V.E Schwab is an auto-buy author for me, and I’m so glad to have read Gallant this year! Highly recommend it to those who enjoy magical fantasy novels.